UOC-MP monks intend to remove ‘everything but relics’ from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

27 March, 11:13 PM
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Photo:Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Reuters)

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Photo:Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Reuters)

After being ordered to vacate the premises, representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) plan to remove "everything but the relics" from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on March 27, citing a source among the clergy.

The journalists noticed that some religious icons have vanished from the Lavra, and priests didn’t answer questions about how that might have happened. Other priests said they were going to remove everything except the relics, since they consider all property, including icons, to be property of UOC-MP.

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On March 10, Ukraine’s Culture Ministry decreed that UOC-MP must vacate the premises it leases the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra by March 29.

In response, UOC-MP stated that the Ministry of Culture had issued an "ultimatum" and that their demands have no legal basis.

The Synod of UOC-MP stated on March 23 that they were deprived of the right to stay in the monastery "without any reason" and that the authorities "despise and destroy shrines."

The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Reserve terminated agreements with the UOC-MP to lease the Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church on the territory of the Upper Lavra on Jan. 1.

For the first time in history, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan Epiphanius, held a Christmas service in the Assumption Cathedral of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on Jan. 7.

The State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience concluded on Feb. 1 that UOC-MP remains a structural unit of the Russian Orthodox Church, despite the Church Council's declaration of "full autonomy and independence."

In 2022, the Security Service (SBU) began inspecting UOC-MP religious buildings throughout Ukraine, discovering anti-Ukrainian literature and symbols in many churches.

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